Narendra Modi tweeted an image of himself looking out of a helicopter window as he flew over the area on Thursday, saying he was “pained by the devastation” he had seen.
The scene through the window was barely visible, but when the government’s press department later tweeted what appeared to be the same image, the view through the window was sharp and clearly showed flooding.
The department later deleted that tweet, but not before thousands of followers had taken screen grabs of the apparently manipulated image.
“Very silly of @PIB-India to photo-shop @PMOIndia aerial survey of Chennai,” tweeted Prashanth Rao, referring to the state capital.
“Worst photoshop ever!” tweeted Wilbur Sargunaraj. “Why does our PM need false and exaggerated propaganda???”
Modi travelled to Tamil Nadu on Thursday to survey the damage from weeks of flooding that has killed 269 people.
The prime minister is a prolific tweeter with more than 16 million followers.